We Need Secrets - “Flutter and Hiss” // EP REVIEW

We Need Secrets' “Flutter and Hiss” is an EP from Chad Peck of Kestrels and Union of the Snake fame. While most solo albums are stereotypically singer/songwriter, or solo guitar pieces, this EP brings a full quotient of rock, with drums, bass, and Peck's trademark fuzzy, whammy-barred guitar riffing. Opening track “Christmas Day” is slow burning and introspective, relying mostly on a dark, thick guitar line, sparse drums, and personal lyrics. Tape hiss would no doubt be present here save for the miraculous technology of modern digital recording.

“Cooper Black” kicks in hard and moves into fast paced rock with catchy guitar hooks and long, spacious chord changes. The middle section of this song reminds me of mid-period Mogwai, albeit with thicker guitar tone and of course, lyrics. But the classic sparse breakdown followed by rapidly picked, dirty, reverbed guitars is there and done well, though some of the overlapping guitar tracks sound a little muddy to my ears.

“Fear” documents yet another great fuzzy guitar tone and the close changes and rapid snare drum rolls sound like Sonic Youth. Ganky bass carries the second verse very well below Peck's vocals, while waves of guitar noise over steady 8th notes reinforce the SY sound, though the vocals and tones keep things unique and not derivative sounding.

The songwriting is top notch, as you'd expect from someone who's fronted as many bands as this – the vocals do have a 'buried in the mix' philosophy, which I appreciate as a style, but which makes it hard to pick out specific lyrics at times. A lot of guitarist's solo albums often go heavy on the guitar tones while leaving the vocals to an afterthought, but clearly these songs were written with lyrics and vocals at the forefront. If one were to chart the vocal progress from early Medium Mood, to Kestrels, to here, there would be a clear progression from 'shouting rock singer' to 'nervous melodies' to 'strong singer,' and this EP shows off some of Peck's best vocal work yet.

Besides the prerequisite fuzz tones, “Dear You” also showcases some of the more upfront vocals – I could hear some overdubs or harmonies happening hear, but that's not always in the objective of a solo project, of course. Freakout guitar bursts punctuate skittering drums and a noisy electronic layer that crackles underneath the track.The choice of fuzz actually leaves more room for the vocal than the cleaner guitar/bass sections, which gives a nice dynamic to the track (which is probably my favorite of the EP)

“The Light” starts off with distant, bending guitars reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine before moving into catchy, Dino Jr. style rock and roll, and a great catchy vocal hook that wouldn't be out of place in a Kestrels tune, though the solo setup gives plenty of room to explore more layered guitars than the stripped down trio sound. More trademark whammy bends bring the EP to a snappy close.

Overall these five songs continue to showcase Pecks' growing songwriting talent, and while there are moments where things sound a little unpolished, or the drums are a little off time, it all works in the spirit of homegrown, heartfelt music that's not afraid to be heavy & melodic. While some would accuse Peck of wearing his influences on his sleeve, the truth is that those influences make for a great record – and prove that there's nothing wrong with doing what you love. Unique vocals give this EP a strong sound of it's own, and you can't help but love the thick layers of guitar, if you're into that kind of thing (which, needless to say, I am).

Download the album now for the price of your choice, or stream online, at http://weneedsecrets.bandcamp.com/


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